1969 Gibson J-50 SlopDreadnought Guitar

Update 2020: my friend Steve has owned this for the past 5 years and just brought it back for consignment. Its neck profile just hasn't suited him and so it's back after a nice foray into the wild. I've completely updated this blog post because of that.

1969 was the last year for the round-shoulder, short-scale J-50. It was the transition year to the D-18-style, long-scale, square-shoulder version which would hold sway through the '70s. This one certainly has that classic, woody, bottom-saturated, ka-chunky chordal thing going on. It sounds great as a chord-strumming backup guitar and has the narrow nut width and slim neck profile of the era -- perfect for sliding barre chords and rock-n-roll fast chord changes.

While the guitar is crack free, it does show some deeper finish cracks at either side of the waist on the top. They're not on the inside and over kerfing anyhow, so I'm not worried about them turning into the real thing. Also, aside from the replacement bridge, the guitar is otherwise original and in good order. It even still has its original Kluson tuners at the headstock.

Anyhow, it's good to go, plays great, and has had all of its Is dotted and Ts crossed. The original hard case is getting tired (its covering is trying to come-off around the bottom edges and has been duct-taped in place) but still serves just fine.

Repairs included: a fret level/dress, previous reglue to the fretboard extension, fresh bridge reglue, new compensated bone saddle, cleaning, and setup.

Setup notes: action is bang-on at 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE at the 12th fret. The neck is straight, the truss rod works, and it's strung with normal 54w-12 gauges. The fretboard dips down from the rest of the board starting at around fret 13, but it's very slight. This is the reverse of a "ski jump" and a non-issue.

Scale length: 24 1/2"
Nut width: 1 9/16"
String spacing at nut: 1 5/16"
String spacing at bridge: 2 1/16"
Body length: 20 1/8"
Lower bout width: 16"
Waist width: 10 3/4"
Upper bout width: 11 1/2"
Side depth at endpin: 5"
Top wood: solid spruce
Back/sides wood: solid mahogany
Bracing type: x-braced, light
Fretboard: rosewood, synthetic nut
Bridge: rosewood, bone saddle, replacement pins
Neck feel: slim C shape, ~12" board radius

Condition notes: the finish shows lots of weather-checking throughout and light finish-cracking throughout, too. There's a dulled area of finish at the upper-bout-bass-side from (presumably) playwear. It looks, overall, like a typical old Gibson -- lots of finish checking, minor scuffs and scratches here and there on the back and sides, plenty of playwear evident on the neck -- but in good order. There's some muck-up around the bridge area from its previous reglue job. The bridge itself is a replacement but is roughly the same shape as the original -- this was originally fitted with a "belly-back" ADJ (adjustable) Gibson bridge. This current one is more like a '70s Gibson bridge -- thinner and lower but still with the pins pretty far aft. Also, the frets are pretty typical for Gibson of this time, too -- fairly low and wide, with at least a couple of level/dress jobs done in the past. They're good to go but consider a refret if you like tall, big frets.

It comes with: its original hard case, a little old-smoky-smelling, in worn-but-ready shape.